In a fight between potential last-place teams, Oklahoma State closed down Gallagher-Iba Arena the right way, beating West Virginia 85-77 to complete its first win streak in two months.
There were four lead changes in the first four minutes on Saturday. But that fifth one, which came roughly eight minutes into the game, stuck.
The Cowboys used a 10-2 run, fueled mostly by Lindy Waters and Cam McGriff, to build an 8-point lead over the visiting Mountaineers midway through the first. But a disparity in offensive rebounds and second-chance points to keep it close — thanks partly to Yor Anei’s two early fouls and subsequent nine first-half minutes — allowed the West Virginia to hang around.
Enter Curtis Jones who was a spark plug off of the bench, drilling four 3s in the first half and scoring 13 points in 14 minutes before the Cowboys when to the locker room up 49-41.
The Pokes came out of the intermission ablaze making four of five field goals while the Mountaineers equaled their turnover count from the entire first half (three) less than three minutes into the second. But some hot shooting by the visitors (and a cold streak by the hosts) kept things too close for comfort.
The Mountaineers tied it with nine minutes left but the Cowboys were able to hold them off and secure the win 85-77 and finish the regular season 12-19 (5-13 in confernence).
It was over when…
The ‘Neers kept it close to the final minutes with their hot perimeter shooting, but after Lindy Waters’ late 3 pushed the lead to 5, freshman Yor Anei was responsible for this 4-point swing to put the Pokes in the driver’s seat.
Player of the Game: Yor Anei
Speaking of that record-setting frosh. Anei finished with 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting. He added six rebounds and broke his own freshman record (now three days old) with eight (!) blocks.
— Carson Cunningham (@KOCOCarson) March 9, 2019
But beyond the numbers, when Anei was off the floor, especially early with foul trouble, his team missed him.
Next up: With the win, Oklahoma State will now play TCU on Wednesday as the Big 12 Tournament tips off in Kansas City.